Health & wellbeing: Smoking cessation

Staying safe and healthy is top of mind these days. If you smoke or vape you may be thinking about seeking support to quit to lessen the impact Covid-19 might have on your health. When smoking you are more vulnerable to serious respiratory diseases through repeated contact of fingers to lips, and the possibility of already having reduced lung capacity [1]. Reducing or quitting smoking results in improved lung’s ability to fight infection, increased oxygenation and lowered blood pressure and pulse in as little as 8 hours after the last cigarette [2].

Smoking Cessation Support Services are available to UBC staff, faculty and their dependents through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and UBC’s Extended Health Benefits.

Telephone Smoking Cessation Program (EFAP Provider Morneau-Shepell)

Led by a certified smoking cessation counsellor, Morneau-Shepell’s program guides you through a series of phone sessions that aim to help you navigate and problem-solve difficult situations. You also receive a handbook containing exercises and strategies for incorporating your new skills into your daily routines.

The program includes:

  • An initial assessment
  • Four counselling sessions
  • One booster session
  • Two aftercare sessions.

Online Stop Smoking Centre (EFAP Provider Morneau-Shepell)

This interactive and personalized online program offers convenience, security and access anytime, anywhere. Key components of the program include:

  • Achieving six major milestones to help quit smoking
  • Connecting with an online peer support group that is moderated by health care professionals.

Learn more about Morneau-Shepell’s Smoking Cessation Program and Stop Smoking Centre. Services are free for UBC faculty and staff, and 100% confidential. To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Morneau-Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-844-880-9137 or visit (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)

Smoking Cessation Support Services (Extended Health Benefits)

UBC’s Extended Health Benefits plan provides reimbursement for smoking cessation products that require a prescription, as well as over-the-counter products with a prescription. If you’re enrolled in UBC’s extended benefits plan, you can access up to $300 per year per person for smoking cessation drugs. The plan also provides coverage for naturopathic services that can include anti-smoking treatments administered by a doctor of naturopathic medicine (ND).

For more details, refer to the information outlined by your UBC Employee Group. For specific drug coverage information, visit the Sun Life Member Website, call Sun Life at 1-800-661-7334 or 1-800-361-6212, or review the details in your Sun Life benefits booklet.

Additional UBC Resources

  • UBC Pharmacists Clinic (Vancouver campus): The pharmacists have experience supporting people through a smoking cessation process that includes goal-setting, arranging access to nicotine replacement therapy, etc. This routine service is available by appointment. Contact the Pharmacists Clinic.
  • Information about community substance use support and support services can be found here.

Additional Provincial Resources

  • BC Smoking Cessation Program helps eligible B.C. residents stop smoking or using other tobacco products by assisting with the cost of smoking cessation prescription drugs or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products.
  • Quit Now is a free program using evidenced-based strategies to help approach quitting.